Saturday, April 2, 2011

TFC 1 Chivas 1 - the parts are on the floor, did anyone see the instruction manual?

The Hollywood version of today’s game would have had that rag-tag bunch, the guys who had just met, suddenly reach new heights and triumph together. Music rises, credits roll and all that jazz.
Reality at BMO Field was different. TFC looked like a jittery team. They looked like it was the day after something big had happened. It could have been the opposite of the bounce you expect from a team that has just had an unpopular coach fired. It has often been observed that DeRo was a selfish captain, but he was captain nonetheless. Chivas scoring so early just highlighted the confused state TFC seemed to be in. It might have been their only true scoring opportunity of the day. Chivas fired some testing long shots at Frei in the second half, but Frei was up to the test.

You would cover most of the starters and subs if you combined the categories of “new this year” and ‘recovering from injury”. The only players not covered would be Cann, Frei, Harden, Santos and Peterson in the first half. There are moments when it feels that we are watching a sociology experiment, 11 strangers on a green field are introduced to a soccer ball.

Javier Martina continues to provide most of TFC’s offensive excitement. It also seems that opposing defenses are happy to have two players cover him in some situations, notably when Frei has the ball and is looking long.

Both of the new guys acquired in the trade played the full game. Danleigh Borman looked like klutzy trouble in the first half for a while. Passes were sprayed around and his touch seemed unsure. He found a better balance in the second half and a few times he was supplying long balls to the edge of the box or switching the attack by finding Martina out wide.
Tony Tchani looked impressive in the midfield. He is a physical player and covers a lot of ground. If he and JDG can become a smooth partnership, the verdict on the DeRo trade could swing TFC’s way.
Questions that linger

Who can they beat? The Toronto home schedule gets tougher from here on. You could argue that Chivas USA is the cellar dweller of the MLS and Toronto just could not put them away. The next opponents visiting Toronto will be the Galaxy, DC United and Columbus Crew(April), then Houston, Chicago and Philly(May). It will be interesting which, if any, of those teams come into Toronto with worse records than TFC during this stretch.

Is Toronto going to take a break from trades and signings and work with what they have or will the shaking of the roster continue? I have that gut feeling that the trading of DeRo is linked with the acquisition of a designated player, but I guess that such a signing may wait until July. Have you noticed that all of my predictions involve July.

New Feature Still Kicking’s BMO Field intake tally and gourmet review – 1 Nathan’s hotdog and a shared bottle of iced tea. Verdict- tea was fine, I thought that New York style hotdogs should have a bit of “snap” to the weiner. It was ok, but I will be happy to try something else next game.

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